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'Boss' Ladies Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell Get Real About Girl Power

Photograph by Getty Images

What do a "Ghostbuster" and a Disney princess have in common? Besides being absolutely hilarious, and parents of two girls each, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Bell are also co-starring in the new comedy "The Boss," which opens in theaters today.

What's even more interesting is that, in a way, you could say that parenting daughters actually helped them prepare for their roles as orphan-turned-titan Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) and her assistant, Claire (Bell), who is a single mom.

We got a chance to talk to the two funny ladies at a recent press conference. Here's what they had to say about girl power, single moms and being the boss.

MORE: 7 Celebrities Who Are Great Role Models for Our Girls

Kristen, the characters in this film are very strong, empowered women. Raising two girls of your own, what do you think is the best advice for making sure you raise strong, independent girls?

Kristen Bell: What I am learning by being a mom is that both of my kids are different. I don't think there's one piece of advice that works for everyone. I think the most important thing is to make the advice specific for your child and do whatever your child needs to help them blossom. What I'm trying to do with my girls is encourage them to be unique and find what makes them unique; if you're unique, you're irreplaceable, but if you fall in line, you're one in millions. Finding what makes you special—it's a lot more fun to walk through life like that, whatever it is.

What I'm trying to do with my girls is encourage them to be unique. — Kristen Bell

Melissa, you are also a mom of two daughters. How are you are instilling self-esteem in your girls?

Melissa McCarthy: That's the biggest question, isn't it? You try to let them be exactly who they are, and you try to show a good example. A biggie for me is "Take the compliment." When you say, "Oh, you look great," so many women for the next 20 minutes are like, "I got it on sale. It's actually terrible. If I turn around, you'd hate it. I look terrible, I've got one shorter leg …"

So as kind of a rule, I'm always like, "You just basically shoved the compliment back in my face." Now, just say "thank you" and walk off. It's a little building block, but I hope it's one of many ways that I show my girls that it's OK to like who you are. It's OK that everybody's different. I always say to my girls, "If we were all the same, we would all be robots. You would be bored out of your mind." Hopefully, it's working.

A biggie for me is 'Take the compliment.' — Melissa McCarthy

Kristen, your character is a single mom. You are married and have two young girls. Were you able to imagine what it was like as a single mom?

KB: Can I imagine it? I can try. Do I think my imagination can get as accurate [as what] single moms face? Probably not. My mom was a single mom, and in my later years, as an adult, she has shared with me a lot of hardships that she felt and a lot of struggles she went through. I know child-rearing is very difficult. It has its pros and cons, but it's very, very, very difficult, and doing it alone, I can imagine, is not always fun. I give a lot of credit to single moms. I think single moms are superheroes.

Melissa, your character builds an empire from nothing. What advice would you give kids getting out of college today who are about to enter the workforce?

MM: Work hard and don't expect too much. You have to work your way up. There's something at that age and so much instant gratification now. Most people I know who really work their way up are better at their jobs; they are more adjusted in the world. Just don't come in and expect to be the CEO. You gotta work for it.

"The Boss" is rated R.

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